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EAST TIMOR (Timor Loro'sae, Timor Leste)


Asia's Newest Nation: From an obscure colony to a war zone made safe by UN peacekeepers; it sounds like somewhere in Africa. But East Timor or Timor Leste has become one of the world's newest (and poorest) nations, a half-island a short flight from Bali or from northern Australia.

East Timor is not exactly ripe for tourism, but that is much of its charm. Outside Dili, the sleepy, torrid capital - watch for goats crossing the road - there are no landline telephones, no banks, no gasoline pumps; almost no stores and limited accomodations. On the other hand, fellow travellers may invite you home to share steamed rice with fish baked in pandanus leaves. The going may sometimes be rough but the journey will prove rewarding in human terms (and the diving is quite fantastic). Images

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